Beginning the harp as an adult

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    Helen Holliday on #159547

    HI everyone, I am interested in learning the harp. I am a lapsed former flautist and pianist (reached Grade 8 on both although never a very competent pianist. Then motherhood and work intervened!. Now in my mid-40’s with a little more time on my hands. Has anyone experience of beginning at that sort of age (or older!) Is it feasible?

    diane-mcclung on #159548


    I am 63yrs of age, and started learning the harp a year ago, and I love it. I could not read music so I started from scratch, but I am getting better and enjoying every second of it. If possible get a good teacher so you don’t learn any bad habits with your hands etc. If you have a chance go for it, I don’t think you will regret learning to play the harp.

    Helen Holliday on #159549

    Thanks Diane. I find this very encouraging. Do you play pedal or lever harp?

    diane-mcclung on #159550

    I have a Dreamweaver Lever harp from Heartland harps.

    Donna O on #159551

    I started playing for the first time 3yrs ago at the age of 66.

    lisa-fenwick on #159552

    Helen, It is never too late to begin the harp.

    Minnesota Harpist on #159553

    Hi Helen.

    Helen Holliday on #159554

    Thanks so much for all replies. I certainly now realise I have not ‘missed the boat’ so to speak and there are people out there getting a huge amount from taking the harp up in later years. I’m at the beginning of my ‘harp journey’ and need to research what kind of harp to begin with. Financial constraints mean I have to rent initially but I suppose at least I have not committed myself to huge financial outlay. I have at least found a couple of harp teachers in the area, The Virginia festival weekend sounds wonderful but not accessible for me as I am in the UK (Sussex). However I gather from my web explorations that there are festivals in Cardiff. Wish me luck!

    kathryn williams on #159555

    Helen…I’m in early 40s, and in the UK, and started playing harp this summer, following a ‘harp workshop’ at The Early Music Centre at Bradford. I went for the workshop and came home with a second hand but beautiful harp (having tried out just about every harp they had, considered finances, phoned Other Half, sat, deliberated, tried them all out again…) Seems I got a good one as my harp teacher reckons it’s better than hers!

    Have you tried out a harp? Perhaps get a trial lesson…

    Certainly NOT too late..and so many choices to make on the style of music etc.

    With your level of music knowledge you will find you can focus on correct hand technique as you already know how to read music and rythym.

    sherry-lenox on #159556

    Hi Helen-

    I didn’t realize you were in the UK.

    Look up Telynau Telfi. I think they may rent, and they make wonderful sounding lever harps.

    I started harp lessons almost 3 years ago. I sometimes get very frustrated at my slow progress, but I love the instrument and learning about it.

    Helen Holliday on #159557

    Hi Kathryn-I will take your advice on trial lesson. Agonising over cost of hiring at the moment. Would you mind at least giving me an idea of what you paid for your harp – I presume it’s a lever harp. I have looked at adverts for second hand harps but prices seem to vary so much for harps that are presented as very similar and i have no idea as to what I could expect in terms of quality!

    Tacye on #159558

    I just had a quick look around the usual places to look for 2nd hand harps in the UK and the current offerings are very thin on the ground compared to usual. Renting for a few months will not only let you learn more about what you want in a harp, but will let the 2nd hand market recover from Christmas. As well as commercial places some teachers have instruments they will rent to students.

    alice-freeman on #159559

    Hi Helen,

    As a musician who took up harp when she turned 50, I agree with the others that it is never too late to start. However, I would strongly urge you to (1) do your best to find a teacher who likes working with beginning adults, and (2) plan on renting a harp for the first 6-months to a year. The teacher will help identify irregularities in hand and body positions before they become bad habits and problems. The harp you think you want today may be entirely different than the one you want to play for the rest of your life. A good teacher can help you match the type of music you want to play to the appropriate type of harp. There are teachers who will offer lessons over the Internet using computer software like Skype or ooVoo, but for a beginner it is usually easier to start with “hands-on” lessons and leave the Internet teacher for later.

    Good luck!

    — Alice in windy Wyoming (

    jennifer-rehfisch on #159560

    Hi Helen

    There are a few places that you may want to scope out if you are looking for a rental harp.

    tony-morosco on #159569

    A Mac running Logic Studio. Not cheap, but not outrageously expensive, and it is actually used by professionals. I know of several professional groups who recorded albums at home on a Mac with Logic.

    There are other alternatives, some that may be cheaper, but for home recording this is the best in my opinion.

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